The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has taken action against the owner and manager of a Seafood & Mexican restaurant, for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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13 Employees Coerced to Return Wages

Federal investigators found that the restaurant failed to properly compensate workers for overtime hours worked between June 6, 2019, and June 5, 2021, by paying “straight time” instead of the required time-and-a-half rate for hours exceeding 40 in a workweek. Moreover, the restaurant failed to maintain accurate records of employee hours worked and pay received, further violating labor laws.

Following an investigation, the restaurant and its owner, agreed to pay back wages and liquidated damages to the affected workers. However, they later coerced workers into returning the payments, prompting the Department of Labor to file a lawsuit seeking enforcement of the agreed-upon payments and future compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Additional Wage & Hour Penalties

U.S. District Court Judge Phillip P. Simon issued a consent judgment and order requiring the restaurant and the restaurant’s manager to pay the owed monies to the workers.

Additionally, civil money penalties of $7,931 were assessed against the restaurant for its willful violations.

Wage and Hour Division District Director Aaron Loomis emphasized the department’s commitment to ensuring that workers receive their rightful wages and that employers comply with federal wage laws.

As part of the judgment, the defendants agreed to future compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, providing employees with information on federal wage laws and accurate pay stubs, and installing time clocks to record hours worked and breaks taken at all restaurant locations.

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This case highlights the importance of adhering to employment laws and fulfilling obligations to employees. Employers must ensure proper compensation for their workers and comply with regulations to avoid legal consequences and protect the rights of their employees. By upholding labor standards, businesses can foster a fair and respectful work environment while avoiding costly penalties and legal disputes.

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